What's a good entry level apologetics book on the Bible? I'm interested in why I shouldn't be concerned:

What's a good entry level apologetics book on the Bible? I'm interested in why I shouldn't be concerned:
>that the gospels apparently weren't written down until 40 years after Christ
>that numerous Bible manuscripts differ from each other
>that there is no archaeological evidence for the Exodus
>that many major events seem to contradict the historical record (e.g. Augustus took a census of all Rome, and that he wanted each man registered in the town of his lineage instead of where he actually lived)

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  1. 4 months ago
    Anonymous

    >that the gospels apparently weren't written down until 40 years after Christ
    the dates are speculative, and mark being first is still not full consensus. acts is written in a way where it seems like 60 ad just happened and paul's writings were about 5 years following jesus' death.
    >that numerous Bible manuscripts differ from each other
    99.5% of the variants don't change anything. they are if something is either plural or not, definite article or not. the remaining variants don't change anything theologically like mark's long ending in some bibles.
    >that there is no archaeological evidence for the Exodus
    amenhotep II seems to not have had a military nor was his successor his first born if you look into it. that lines up pretty well with the plagues and moses parting the sea.

    • 4 months ago
      Anonymous

      >great flood
      >one of each animal on a big boat
      >walking on water
      >6000 year old earth
      >actual necromancy but for me not for thee

      • 4 months ago
        Anonymous

        the bible never says how old the earth is. also if you line up jeremiah's verses with the genesis ones, you could take it as god bringing order to a chaotic world, our planet, billions of years after expansion of the universe.

      • 4 months ago
        Anonymous

        You can tell this poster has no points to make since he just states facts from the bible

        >Jesus
        >God
        >Adam
        >Eve!

        You aren’t concerned that some important words or sentences changed from Jesus speaking to the words being written down 40 years later? I’d be concerned with them being written down hours later, unless someone with outstanding memory was always following them around. I couldn’t tell you the exact words from conversations I had today.

        Wait until this guy hears about Buddha

        • 4 months ago
          Anonymous

          I was genuinely shocked to learn that there isn't even a consensus on what fricking CENTURY Buddha lived in. And yet no one gets autistically aggressive about Buddha's historicity like they do against Jesus.

          • 4 months ago
            Anonymous

            Its because the very nature of Jesus makes the world hate him. When people say stuff like, "I love Jesus, I just can't stand Christians," they are confused. They don't see Jesus as who he says he is, but instead, they have a picture of Jesus that they have made themselves.

            Real Jesus said that all of your good works are worth less than used menstrual rags. Real Jesus said that if you have done anything wrong, you are guilty of transgressing the entirety of the Law. Real Jesus said that, without him, you are spiritually dead and will go to eternity separated from God.

            People don't argue about Buddha because he is inoffensive.

      • 4 months ago
        Anonymous

        The story of Noah is intensely instructive.

  2. 4 months ago
    Anonymous

    also there is a new book about luke i'm interested in reading call the historical tell by luuk van de weghe that appears to really root the book of luke.

  3. 4 months ago
    Anonymous

    I wouldn't be concerned about the bible not being written down until well after Christs death. Early Christianity was an oral and aural tradition. We aren't a scriptural religion like the muslims. We are an apostalic one. The bible is just a tool to find Christ, which is all that really matters.

    • 4 months ago
      Anonymous

      You aren’t concerned that some important words or sentences changed from Jesus speaking to the words being written down 40 years later? I’d be concerned with them being written down hours later, unless someone with outstanding memory was always following them around. I couldn’t tell you the exact words from conversations I had today.

      • 4 months ago
        Anonymous

        i think jesus spoke in the manner he did specifically for that reason since the literacy rate of the average person was low, he relied on parables and one liners to be memorable and consistently passed on.

      • 4 months ago
        Anonymous

        also, it's worthwhile to note that not all of the apostles were uneducated. matthew was a tax collector and likely knew greek as well. i'd imagine people in the fishing trade could at least speak both greek and hebrew too.

    • 4 months ago
      Anonymous

      > aren't a scriptural religion like the muslims
      The Quran is oral.

  4. 4 months ago
    Andreyev

    I can answer these points. I'm a student of divinity, so I've studied some of these.

    1. So biographies aren't written until much later than the person lived. The reason the gospels took so long is that the people who knew Jesus were poor, and thus illiterate (until later in life). The earliest manuscripts we have mentioning the life of Alexander the great were centuries old. Plato's first manuscripts are the same. Biblical manuscripts are at their earliest, 90 years, and at their latest a few hundred.

    The gospels were also written by eye witnesses (Mathew was an apostle, Luke used Peter and Mary as primary influences, John was an apostle, etc.). It isn't something you should worry about in terms of accuracy I don't think.

    2. The manuscripts we have (the earliest ones, not the bullshit that is the Textus Recepticus AKA King Jame's manuscript, which is 900 years older than new manuscripts) are (If I remember) 98% similar. The majority of errors are articles and other minor words. The monks who transcribed the bible were checked rigorously due to the nature of the church considering the Bible as so holy.

    3. No idea about this one actually. A general exodus is generally accepted historically however, seeing the israelites were suddenly released from slavery. The red sea is the most contested part of Exodus, but it doesn't matter much for the overall narrative IMO.

    4. The census Luke wrote about was probably misattributed. There was a census recorded in about 4 BC by the prior emperor, so this is probably just Mary (Lukes source) misremembering the current emperor. Most historical inaccuracies are negligible however or even may be more accurate than our current concensus. The Akkadians, mentioned in Exodus, were thought to never have existed and to have been fabricated until archeologists found forensic evidence and a few artifacts.

    In terms of apologetics, I would keep away from any clearly biased ones, however I have always heard good things about Lee Strobel's works (the Case for Christ is notorious but interesting). He was a prominent journalist who converted after investigating the resurrection. C.S Lewis has some apologetical works, such as "The Case for Christianity" which is probably good, though it might be more on theology than actual bibliology.

    • 4 months ago
      Andreyev

      Edits:

      ON my first point, I meant to emphasize that the fact that four gospels, written independently, confirm the same stories, names, and places, lends some credibility, although admittedly there are some discrepancies in detail, though minor.

      The Textus Recepticus is 900 years newer, not older.

  5. 4 months ago
    Anonymous

    >that numerous Bible manuscripts differ from each other
    That is only true of lower quality "critical text" or Alexandrian text manuscripts. Said manuscripts represent an interesting attempt by a group in Egypt to modify the New Testament. The same group of people seem to have been influential in how the early Sahidic and Bohairic translations (which are two Coptic dialects) were made, as they share many similarities with codex B and Aleph and a few others which are generally known as the "Alexandrian text".

    The modern critical text is a slightly modified reconstruction of this modified version of New Testament. It follows neither the Byzantine nor the Received text. The Received text meanwhile is a continuation of what has been handed down through the generations, rather than a reconstruction of something that was lost. The modern critical text is just a reconstruction based on guesswork from a few widely varying Alexandrian manuscripts, and it has a small number of token changes made by modern scholars here and there. But you don't have this problem if you just ignore the critical text, which is what serious scholars should honestly do.

    >that there is no archaeological evidence for the Exodus
    Heard of the Hyksos and Habiru before?
    >that many major events seem to contradict the historical record (e.g. Augustus took a census of all Rome, and that he wanted each man registered in the town of his lineage instead of where he actually lived)
    That could have just been how Judea was handled, and it could have been designed that way in order to be disruptive to a big client kingdom that was about to be integrated into the empire (Judea was integrated in 6 AD).

  6. 4 months ago
    Anonymous

    Josh McDowell is a pretty popular Protestant apologeticist. "The Evidence That Demands a Verdict" and "A Ready Defense" might be up your alley.

    • 4 months ago
      Anonymous

      However, before you get too wrapped around the axle about apologetics, I'd encourage you to read John chapter 6.

      Jesus feeds the 5,000 (actually probably 15k-20k if we look at Matthew) in what is one of the widest AOE miracles he does.

      They want to make him King to overthrow the Romans (v15). This sets up the point of the whole chapter. People come to Jesus expecting Him to make their worldly lives better. He promptly tells them that He isn't here to do what they think the Messiah is supposed to do, He's here to do the work of the Father.

      Over the course of chapter 6, Jesus explains this by using the illustration of the bread that he fed them with. I'm paraphrasing, "You followed me around the lake because you want your physical needs met, but I'm here to show you that you are starving spiritually and I am the only bread that will truly satisfy you."

      And what happens? He goes from 20k people to 11+Judas.

      Jesus Christ himself went from 20k to 12 after performing miracles in front of these people. Why?

      "No one comes to me unless he has been called by the Father."

      We, as Christians, are called to have a ready defense, but there is an incredible amount of peace in knowing that only God can wake people up to the truth.

      We are not the sculptor, we are the chisel. We are used by God for a purpose and then He will pick up another chisel for a different purpose.

      • 4 months ago
        Anonymous

        skeptics disregard john because it was written 100 years later and they assume it's a built up collection of myths. you have to really tackle the entire gospel and paul's work to have rebuttals as skeptics have really improved their dishonesty tactics.

        • 4 months ago
          Anonymous

          I wasn't saying to use John 6 as a tool against sceptical people, but rather as something to remember if he is feeling discouraged in his ability to verbally JiuJitsu someone into believing in Jesus. It doesn't work like that.

          • 4 months ago
            Anonymous

            ah, good point. often times i remember how you can't argue someone into heaven because that would mean they could be argued out of it. there's some point along the journey where you need to surrender and make the leap of faith; at least that's what i've come to realize in dealing with atheist/gnostic skeptics.

  7. 4 months ago
    Anonymous

    >apparently weren't written down until 40 years after...
    who told you that? israelites? nice one
    >manuscripts differ
    who told you that? israelites again?
    yet im bored

  8. 4 months ago
    Anonymous

    The works of C.S. Lewis are great for this, not because his ideas are simple, but his writing style is simple and very concise. I'd reccomend reading everything he ever wrote.

  9. 4 months ago
    Anonymous

    The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel is very convincing.

  10. 4 months ago
    Anonymous

    >that the gospels apparently weren't written down until 40 years after Christ
    Paul was writing his letters in the same generation as Christ's death and the Gospels were intended for preserving early Christian oral culture (as well as the living sources which Luke says he goes to great lengths to preserve) for future generations.
    >that numerous Bible manuscripts differ from each other
    This just shows the extent to which the Bible was circulating and its relevance in those timeframes. There were no consensus on israeli Septuagint manuscripts predating Jesus either but you wouldn't deny that the Israelites had a scripture.
    >that there is no archaeological evidence for the Exodus
    The Ipuwer Papyrus and Josephus's quotations of Manetho prove that there was a literary precedent for most of the motifs in the Exodus. There's also something to the fact that "Moses" and "Aaron" are etymologically Egyptian names. "No archaeological evidence" is also a weak precedent because the same thing was said about the Kingdom of Israel, King David and Pontius Pilate but then we got the Merneptah Stele, the Tel Dan Stele and the Pilate Stone.
    >Augustus took a census of all Rome, and that he wanted each man registered in the town of his lineage instead of where he actually lived
    There were objective censuses around the same time, Joseph could have wanted to go to Bethlehem for any number of economic reasons.

    I don't even think that dogmatically "defending" the Bible is that necessary, but most of the criticisms brought against it are pretty well-worn at this point.

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